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AT THIS HOUR

CNN Poll: Support for Trump Impeachment On the Rise Among Key Groups; McConnell: If Impeachment Passes House, Have No Choice But to Take Up; Kamala Harris Calls on Twitter to Suspend Trump's Account; Jury Finds Dallas Police Officer Guilty for Shooting Unarmed Neighbor; Researchers Race to Find Cause of Vaping-Related Illnesses. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired October 1, 2019 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:33:05]

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Support for impeachment is on the rise among key groups. This coming from a new CNN poll. Americans are now about evenly split over impeaching President Trump and removing him from office. And 47 percent now support the move. That is up six points since May.

What's behind that change is what's most noteworthy, increasing support from Independents and Republicans. Among Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents, support for impeachment has now risen eight and 11 points respectively. What exactly does this mean today?

Joining me now, Michael Allen, a former staffer on the National Security Council under George W. Bush, also former staff director for the House Intelligence Committee, and Brendan Buck, a former aide to Republican House Speakers Paul Ryan and John Boehner.

Good to see you guys.

Brendan, first to you.

Republicans on Capitol Hill see these numbers today, and they do what with them?

BRENDAN BUCK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know if that's enough movement to scare anybody. I think you'll have to be numbers move a lot further.

Keep in mind, to understand how this will play with House Republicans, there's a few things to appreciate. One, the most important election is their primary. At this point, especially, after a lot of battleground Republicans lost and we in the minority, the primary is the only thing that matters.

The most important thing for the primary at this point is the president's approval. The seal of approval from the president. I would be very skeptical that any of these Republicans will be willing to step out. You saw what happened when Mitt Romney stepped out and said he was

concerned about what happened here. The president fired up a video and started attacking him. I think that's what Republicans are fearful of.

We would talk to Republicans all the time in the House, whether it's whipping a bill, here's why this is good, here's why you should be for this, and they would say, I agree with you, I'm there, but I need to hear if the president is for it. That's fundamentally how they view things.

BOLDUAN: Fascinating and such an important perspective on how folks are looking at this.

Michael, then you have Mitch McConnell saying the Senate would have no choice but to take up impeachment if it passes the House. I'm only being a little bit cute when I say I've never heard Mitch McConnell say he has no choice to do anything when it comes to the rules of the Senate. But what do you think he's doing?

[11:35:12]

MICHAEL ALLEN, FORMER STAFFER, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL & FORMER STAFF DIRECTOR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I think he's signaling to the House of Representatives that this is a very serious matter. We are going to go to a trial if you impeach.

So I think Mitch McConnell is an institutionalist, he wants the House to know that. I think he is trying to help bolster the president and those in the House of Representatives who are still message testing, trying to find a way to message the Republican base to consolidate their support.

It looks like what they're trying to do is it make this a shirts- versus-skins, Republican-versus-Democratic issue, so you have to get onside and they're trying to whip Republicans in line.

What you see with the president being a messenger on this is they're trying to find the right line to convey to the country and to the Independents that you mentioned that this matter is not of high consequence deserving of impeachment.

It reminds me of the Clinton impeachment when they came up with a very simple way to minimize or denigrate the charges, when he lied about sex, as if to say that's happened, this is a small issue not worthy of impeachment.

So I think that's what the Republicans are trying to do on the Hill, which is to try and say you have not met the bar of a high crime or misdemeanor.

BOLDUAN: They're definitely hoping that. I will only add that in this regard you have an inspector generality who is taking an unusual step of coming out so as far almost refuting almost point by point the defenses or attacks that the president and those around him, including, you know, Senator Lindsey Graham of the Judiciary Committee, what they are saying about it to this point.

Brendan, let me play for you what the top House Republican had to say to "60 Minutes" when he was asked about the whistleblower complaint.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT PELLEY, CO-HOST, 60 MINUTES: What do you make of this exchange. President Zelensky says, "We are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes." And President Trump replies, "I would like you to us a favor though."

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): You just added another word.

PELLEY: No, it's in the transcript.

MCCARTHY: You said, "I'd like you to do us a favor though?"

PELLEY: Yes, it's in -- it's in the transcript.

MCCARTHY: When I read the transcript --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: It goes on from there.

Brendan, honestly, would you ever let Ryan or Boehner do this interview? It's Kevin McCarthy helping the Republican cause at all, to try to find a way to a message to defend this?

BUCK: I think as a leader, he had no choice but to do it.

But to Michael's point, the comparison to the Clinton situation is a good one. The contrast is actually important. In the '90s, Bill Clinton understood Democrats needed to go out and say Bill Clinton did something wrong. I don't think it rises to the level of impeachment, but what he did was wrong.

Here we have a president that I don't think would tolerate that from Republicans in Congress. If Republicans went out and said I don't think this it is impeachable, but what the president did is wrong, he wouldn't understand the joke. Instead, he would probably lash out. That's the dynamic that I think --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: But at this point, that's the only play they can go, or they can say they don't think he did anything wrong.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Right now, the defense that's being put out, Brendan, is it's hearsay, and they broke the rules, but none of that is true.

BUCK: And I think it is straining credibility. I think the right thing to say, if you don't think that this rises to the level of impeachment, is the president should not have done that. This is on its face obviously inappropriate conduct. The

unwillingness for Republicans to say that is what leads you to these situations where you have interviews with people all over the place.

At this point, the Republicans are not only not willing to say it's bad. Some are saying it's it didn't eastern happen in the first place. A lot of that crumbs from how the president would react if they said that.

BOLDUAN: Rock and a hard place, but you picked the rock and the hard place. I'm just saying.

Thanks, guys. Appreciate it. Thank you.

[11:39:14]

Coming up for us, apparently, the mute function on Twitter isn't enough at this point. Democratic presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, is calling on Twitter to now suspend President Trump's account. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: She wants him out of the White House but, first, she wants him off Twitter. Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Kamala Harris, is telling CNN, in light of President Trump's attacks on the whistleblower, she's calling on Twitter to suspend his account. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): His Twitter account should be suspended. I think there's plenty of now evidence to suggest that he is irresponsible with his words in a way that could result in harm to other people. So the privilege of using those words in that way should probably be taken from him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: For more on this, here with me is CNN chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, host of "RELIABLE SOURCES."

Brian, Harris isn't the only person for criticizing President Trump on what he's been saying on Twitter about this. Republican Adam Kinzinger is criticizing him for saying impeaching him could lead to civil war, but is Twitter saying anything?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": No, Twitter is pointedly not saying anything. They do have an abusive conduct policy, and some of the president's tweets, he screams presidential harassment. We could argue that some of his tweets may constitute harassment. But Twitter has never found Trump's tweets to reach that point.

There's also a world leader exception, or at least a world leader policy that says some tweets can be kept up if they're abusive if they're in the public interest. So Twitter has not taken action.

But I think Kamala Harris is channeling her fan's feelings, that the president is so far out of line that something has to be done.

Also, i think this is a fundraising ploy for her. Her hour last night with Anderson Cooper was her best fundraising hour of the month. Something going on with that as well.

BOLDUAN: Interesting.

STELTER: And the president tweets, he's getting worse and worse on Twitter. Objectively able to say that. He's spouting out more and more. Tweeting more this year, but having less effect, less engagement, fewer retweets. It's like a guy yelling more loudly, but not as much attention.

[11:45:07]

BOLDUAN: Quantity versus quality --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Something that applies.

Good to see you, Brian.

STELTER: You, too. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: We have breaking news out of Dallas, Texas, right now. A jury has found a former Dallas police officer guilty on murder charges. Amber Guyger was charged last year after shooting and killing her unarmed neighbor.

Ed Lavandera is outside the courtroom right now.

Ed, fill us in.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We'll let you see how it unfolded inside this courtroom in Dallas moments ago as the judge read the verdict against Amber Guyger.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:50:13]

JUDGE TAMMY KEMP, DALLAS COUNTY JUDGE: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

(CROSSTALK)

KEMP: The jury having reached a verdict, Ms. Guyger, and your team, will you please stand?

We, the jury, unanimously find the defendant, Amber Guyger, guilty of murder as charged in the indictment.

(CROSSTALK)

KEMP: No outbursts.

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: You could hear the gasps there inside the courtroom as the verdict was announced. Both John's family, the 26-year-old accountant who was murdered by Amber Guyger, were inside that courtroom. They've been wearing red every day coming to trial here. That was John's favorite color.

Amber Guyger's family also inside that courtroom.

Outside the courtroom, you can see the heavy security presence here at the courthouse. You have to go through a second layer of security to get to the courtroom that is at the end of the hallway.

You could hear cheering outside that courtroom as that verdict was read here.

This was a rather dramatic moment. There were many people who didn't think Amber Guyger would be convicted of murder, in large part, because one of the options this jury had was they could have convicted on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

This jury has been deliberating since about 1:00 central time yesterday.

We are now waiting for Botham Jean's attorneys to come out, the prosecutors to come out, as well as defense attorneys.

There's been a great deal of legal issues that have come up in the case.

The families for Amber Guyger and attorneys for Amber Guyger had every right to defend herself because she had walked into the wrong apartment, thinking someone was in her apartment but, clearly, the jury did not believe her and has convicted her of murder.

BOLDUAN: That is the final word for at least right now.

Ed, thank you so much. We'll continue to follow that.

We also need to turn now to some other news we're following. Important health information for everyone. Officials in Nebraska are now confirming a 14th death due to vaping. That is on top of 800 documented cases of illness. Investigators still don't know why this is happening. Key question, of course.

CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is back with part II his series of America's vaping epidemic.

Sanjay, what are you learning? You spoke to the CDC about this.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a pretty widespread issue when you talk about hundreds of people who have gotten ill, people have died. It's also in 46 states, Kate, around the country.

To give you an idea of the scope on this, the CDC has activated their emergency operation center. That's a big deal.

Remember, there are two separate issues we're talking about here, the youth nicotine addiction, which we talked about yesterday, and now this mystery illness.

Here's what we know so far.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ADAM HERGENREDER, VAPER: I had the shivers and I couldn't control it, so I would just randomly convulse.

GUPTA (voice-over): His is a story now repeated hundreds of times around the country.

HERGENREDER: I couldn't control myself.

GUPTA (voice-over): Young, healthy, and then suddenly struggling for his life.

POLLY HERGENREDER, ADAM'S MOTHER: To be laying in a bed and not being able to breathe, it's every parents' nightmare.

GUPTA: It is cases like Adam Hergenreder's that have prompted the Centers for Disease Control to now open their emergency operations center.

(on camera): I'm used to it being activated around things like Ebola or hurricanes and things like that. Why vaping?

DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: The outbreak of pulmonary injury associated with vaping or e-cigarettes is an emergency. We're seeing young people become critically ill and die.

GUPTA (voice-over): Most frightening, eight weeks into the investigation no one knows exactly why.

SCHUCHAT: It's important to say that no single product, substance, brand or additive is linked to all the cases right now. And what is on a label may not actually be what the product is.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Our guidance is quite simple -- don't do it. Don't do it because we don't know that it is safe.

GUPTA (on camera): Why did you do it? JAY JENKINS, VAPER: I didn't think there was any risk in trying it. I'd never heard about anybody having any negative effects from it, so I thought that I had nothing to lose.

GUPTA (voice-over): Last year, Jay Jenkins and a friend drove to a convenience store and bought a product labeled CBD, called Yolo -- Yolo, meaning you only live once -- and they vaped it.

JENKINS: I took two puffs off of it. The next thing I know I'm feeling crazy, not thinking straight, and not being able to move.

GUPTA: Within seconds, Jay lost consciousness and started to have frightening hallucinations. His friend drove him to Lexington Medical Center where he started having seizures and breathing difficulties.

[11:55:05]

JENKINS: I thought that I was in hell and that I was already dead.

GUPTA: So what did cause Jay to react so violently? It's what Professor Michelle Peace has been trying to answer.

(on camera): They call it the vape lab? Is that what happens?

MICHELLE PEACE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF FORENSIC SCIENCE, VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY: Well, originally, we called it the vape lab.

GUPTA (voice-over): What her lab and others have shown is that two- thirds of these products are not what they seem. Some have THC, some have other things.

Jay Jenkins, he had vaped a totally synthetic substance. It had no CBD whatsoever and no way to know who manufactured it.

GUPTA (on camera): Is the CBD supply chain safe?

PEACE: There are pockets or lanes in the supply chain that, right now, probably cannot be trusted. Identifying those lanes, good luck.

(COUGHING)

SCHUCHAT: I think that for the consumer, you really need to be aware right now. Something is leading to death in a number of people and leaving otherwise healthy young people to be hospitalized in intensive care on mechanical ventilators.

GUPTA (voice-over): We just don't know what it is. But a possible hint, according to the CDC, nearly 80 percent of people reported using vape products containing THC, whereas just 16 percent reported using nicotine-only vape products.

And keep in mind, because THC is illegal in many states, there might be many more people who used it but won't admit it.

JULIE ZIMMERMAN, PROFESSOR OF CHEMICAL ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING, YALE UNIVERSITY: And science says that what's in that liquid isn't necessarily the same composition that's in the vaper.

GUPTA: Julie Zimmerman is part of the team of Yale researchers focused on the chemical and physical reactions when people vape.

ZIMMERMAN: There are chemical reactions happening in that solution after the manufacturer mixes the chemicals, even without any heating. The FDA actually regulates them and calls them generally regarded as safe, but that designation is for eating ingestion, not for inhalation -- breathing them into your lungs.

GUPTA (on camera): You sort of super-heat these chemicals with these heavy metal coils. You sort of atomize these molecules. They get back into your lungs, they reaccumulate or re-congeal.

I mean, I don't know what that does to the body, just like they didn't know what cigarettes did to the body when they first came out.

Does that part of it worry you?

DR. MICHAEL SIEGEL, PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH, BOSTON UNIVERSITY: So, it worries me, for sure, because we don't know the long-term effects. But it doesn't worry me for smokers.

GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Michael Siegel is a professor of public health at Boston University.

SIEGEL: It doesn't worry me for smokers because I know that one out of every two of them is going to die from smoking if they continue to smoke.

GUPTA (on camera): If you can't be certain that something is safe right now, would the CDC recommend, at least for the time being, that people just not do it?

SCHUCHAT: What we're recommending is if you're concerned about your health risks in light of this investigation that you consider not using e-cigarettes or vaping products until we know more.

GUPTA (voice-over): It's a warning Jay Jenkins has heard.

JENKINS: I certainly won't do it again.

GUPTA (on camera): You won't?

JENKINS: I will not. I took a chance and lost once but, luckily, they were able to safe my life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: Kate, I got to tell you this is a really unique story. It hits on individual liberty, it hits on public health, obviously, this mystery illness, the impact on the next generation. I think that's the reason so many people are now starting to pay attention to this.

The FDA has got a job in front of themselves. There's all sorts of regulations now that are being discussed. You heard some of these. Should they be banning flavorings? What about vaping itself?

Then these products, the THC and CBD products, if they are not regulated, how do you know what to trust? If you're trying to do the right thing, how do you know what to trust?

BOLDUAN: Sanjay, this is really eye opening. It almost seems the more I'm watching your investigation, the more concerning it is.

I mean, one health director out of Kansas said to me recently in an interview, Sanjay, you wouldn't walk around, see a pill on the ground, not know what it is and put it in your mouth. You wouldn't see a syringe on the ground, pick it up and put it in your arm.

GUPTA: That's right.

BOLDUAN: He said that's what you're dealing with, with some of these vape products, because -- these vape products, because we just don't know.

GUPTA: If you go into a convenience store, like Jay Jenkins did, you buy something and pay for it with a credit card, I think you have a certain belief this is not going to kill me.

But you can't even prove that it is safe, you can't even prove that it is what they say it is. And that's a problem.

BOLDUAN: Any idea what the timeline is on regulation?

GUPTA: Well, you know, you've heard the president talking about this, obviously. Several people are now focused on it. I would say within the next weeks to months -- Kate?

[11:59:58] BOLDUAN: I mean, it couldn't happen fast enough --

GUPTA: Yes.

BOLDUAN: -- when you look at what you're dealing with.

Great to see you, Sanjay. Amazing work.

GUPTA: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

GUPTA: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you all so much for joining me for another rocking day.

"INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.